Outside tiny birds fly distracted and twitterpated snatching up twigs and absconding with string to prepare nests in your eaves trough. Inside we feather our own nests with knick knacks, baubles and trinkets.
I’ve made my nests of airy threads of spun sugar atop pillows of velvety Caramel Buttercream crowning moist Vanilla Bean Cakes. An egg would be so lucky to hatch here!
Because It’s Spring again.
Because I had my first robin sighting of the year.
Because I’m on a sugar high.
Because I want you all to know how much I appreciate you.
I made you a little gift inspired by today’s cupcakes.
It’s a bird’s nest necklace made of twisted silver wire and shiny turquoise beads on a dainty cable chain. Made with love by yours truly so it can be Spring all year long.
How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment here telling me about your favourite thing about Spring. Maybe it’s Easter dinner, the budding gardens, the longer days or just the warm breeze. I’d love to know!
2. Follow me on Twitter, tweet the contest (Visit @Hot_Polka_Dot to see some cute cupcakes & enter to win a pretty bird’s nest necklace to keep Spring all year! http://bit.ly/h3w0DC) and leave another comment here telling me you’ve done so.
3. Like me on Facebook and leave even another comment here telling me you’ve done so.
4. Become my friend on Foodbuzz and leave yet another comment here telling me you’ve done so.
– If you’re already following me on Twitter, liking me on Facebook, or my friend on Foodbuzz that’s ok! You’re entries still count!
– Only a maximum of four entries per person will be permitted in the ways I’ve designated above.
– Anyone in the world is welcome to enter.
– Upon winning please email me at hotpolkadot (at) live (dot) com to claim your prize and give me your mailing address to receive the necklace.
– All emails and addresses will be kept confidential.
The contest will be open through the weekend and be closed on Monday April the 25th at 9pm MST. I will close the comments at this time so make sure to get your entries in soon! The winner will be chosen at random and announced Tuesday morning. Make sure to get in as many extra entries you can for a better chance to win!
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! See who won here.
Caramel Bird’s Nest Cupcakes
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.
Source: My imagination.
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 – 4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line 2 muffin tins with baking cups and set them aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated. Split open the vanilla bean then scrape out all the seeds and add them to the bowl.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then add it in thirds alternating between the milk and oil.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin tins then bake them for 20 – 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before frosting.
Make the Caramel Buttercream while the cupcakes are baking. Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small sauce pan on medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 6 – 7 minutes or until it turns a dark amber brown.
Remove it from the heat then very gradually add the cream and vanilla. Be careful not to add the cream too quickly as it will likely splatter or bubble. Set it aside until it’s cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the butter until it’s fluffy and the colour is lightened. Mix in the powdered sugar then add the cooled caramel and blend it until it’s smooth.
Scoop the frosting into a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and generously frost each cupcake. To make roses start a spiral of frosting from the middle working your way to the outside.
Spun Sugar Nests
Makes 24 nests.
Source: Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes’ Maple Candied Apples.
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
24 – 72 Mini Eggs
In a large sauce pan combine the corn syrup, sugar and water then heat it on medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring it to a boil until it reaches 302 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This is considered the hard crack stage which will allow the caramel to harden like glass when it cools. Once it reaches the proper temperature remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your empty sink and securely tape a greased wooden spoon to the counter with the handle hanging over the parchment. Set aside another sheet of parchment on the counter for the finished spun caramel nests. Working quickly grab caramel with two forks then let the threads of caramel fall back and forth over the handle. Once you have amassed enough spun sugar for one nest slide it off the handle and shape it into a small bird’s nest placing 1 – 3 Mini Eggs in it then set it aside on the parchment.
Set the spun sugar bird’s nests on top of the frosted cupcakes and enjoy!